ADA vs IDEA – Difference and Comparison

What is ADA?

The American Disabilities Act is the most significant anti – discriminatory legislation passed in America. It protects people with mental and physical disabilities from being discriminated against in public places, government facilities and programmes and private places of employment. Under this act, all private employers are obliged to give proper justification if they refuse to employ any disabled human being who is otherwise qualified for the job.

What is IDEA?

The aim of IDEA is to try and improve the future of specially – abled children. The ways in which this act has done it or tried to do the same is by emphasizing the substantive needs and requirements of a process of special education. They have altered eligibility criteria’s and have aligned the provisions of this act with NCLB’s provisions like AYP, so as to clearly ensure that the act benefits a large number of people and the beneficiaries can secure a good life for themselves with the help of the act.  The children entitled disabled under this act include physically disabled children, mentally retarded, hearing impairments, visual, speech or language impairment, emotional impairment, autistic children, traumatic brain injury and other health impairments.

Difference Between ADA and IDEA

  1. In IDEA there is more institutional autonomy whereas in ADA there is more student autonomy.
  2. The mission of IDEA is to provide free, proper and public education to everyone in an environment that is not restrictive. On the other hand, mission of ADA is to prevent disability-based discrimination and extend coverage regarding employment to specially-abled individuals.
  3. Different curricular and outcome modifications are mandated by law in case of IDEA whereas these are prohibited by law in case of ADA.
  4. Under IDEA, no parent or school has to pay money or prove disability regarding the child’s education till class 12. The child rights are given back to the parents when the child turns 18. Under ADA, the child needs to give his self-identity to the institution and provide appropriate documents for disability.
  5. IDEA focuses on diagnostic labels provided by labs or hospitals, whereas ADA focusses on level of functional relating impairment.
  6. IDEA applies to all public schools from class KG to 12, or till the age of 21 if the individual has enrolled under Public Secondary Programme. ADA applies to all public and private educational institutes, employments, transportation, telecommunications and accommodations department regardless of whether they receive federal funding or not.

Comparison Between ADA and IDEA

Parameters of ComparisonIDEAADA
Areas of governance
K – 12 systems in AmericaColleges and workplaces in America
What does the act ensure?Success in educationEqual access of education to everyone

The type of law
Educational LawCivil Rights Statute

Services provided
Evaluation and special accommodationsReasonable accommodations

Who all do the acts cover?
Students who require special educational facilities till class 12All qualified people with disabilities or people who are discriminated against because of their relationship with someone.
Based on what factor do people get their rights under these acts?Entitlement of being a disabled personEligibility under Section 504 or any person affected with a deadly contagious of noncontagious disease.